|At Assateague Island National Seashore in March to learn about their adaptation efforts.
When I finally moved to Annapolis, I realized I was just a ten-minute walk away from my office, which was my dream, but we were still teleworking. Nevertheless, on my first day of work in August I picked out a cubicle, worked with IT to get my laptop set up, ordered supplies, and explored Annapolis with my fellowship mentor. Working from home in a new state with a new job can be lonely, but starting my job already knowing some of my coworkers has completely changed the experience for me. Since starting, my mentors and coworkers have made it a priority to introduce me to new projects and opportunities in addition to my fellowship project. My main assignment is to write climate change adaptation and resilience plans for Assateague State Park, Pocomoke State Forest, and Browns Branch Wildlife Management area. I am really lucky in that I have been able to go on some incredible site visits to these areas to learn more about the climate change threats and opportunities, in addition to going on monthly hikes with my mentors. Other projects that I have gotten to work on include designing a “Walktober” campaign, planning Nature Play and NatureCity Conferences, participating in the Maryland Commission on Climate Change and in climate change coordination meetings, and many more! Having multiple responsibilities has made me feel very valued as someone new to the unit, and has given me the opportunity to learn about all of the great projects DNR works on!
Often, I am asked what starting a new job virtually was like and how people can support new hires virtually. In my office, we might not go back to work until late fall or early next year, so I think there is a lot of value in asking these questions. Here are my tips:
I now live even closer to my office than I did before, and I am grateful to know that when we get to work in-person again I won’t feel like a stranger. Instead, I’ll get to walk by friends and coworkers as I walk down the decorated hallway to my cubicle that overlooks the garden. Starting a new job during a pandemic wasn’t easy, but seeing the development of my climate change plans and getting to collaborate with 25+ people on a new project for the state has been totally worth it, and I can’t wait to see what comes next!